feedback besets them, like a drunken heckler

Lovely weather – I walk to the post office to send the Mix CDs I’ve made (the chap behind the counter gives me a first class stamp for each one, which I can’t help feeling isn’t enough, but there we are), then walk up, over Millenium bridge and past St Pauls to the Guildhall to sip orange juice from Pret a Manger and watch the North Sea Radio Orchestra in the sunshine, which is quite lovely, although as it’s people’s lunchtimes there are many animated conversations around, which is a shame. This is the pocket-sized orchestra (two strings, two woodwind, three vocals and several keyboards, plus guitar and percussion). Intermittent feedback besets them, like a drunken heckler.

(Speaking of drunken – I saw a street dweller having a conversation on his mobile phone. I can see how this is perfectly plausible – old phones can be given away, and Pay-as-you-go SIM cards are affordable. It’s just that it’s so twenty-first century.)

Walk to Maplins to convince myself not to buy anything (no, really, that’s what happened. Perhaps it was the air conditioning), then to Liverpool Street to top up my Oyster and get the bus home.

Bounce down rough mixes of the songs I recorded yesterday.

In the evening to the movements (my foot, which was paining me this morning, mysteriously recovered during the NSRO performance – spooky, eh?).

Home – copious donburi by H: Mmm!

the same pattern as yesterday

Interestingly the day follows the same pattern as yesterday, weatherwise: starts out sunny and warm, and you think “Oh, well, that’s nice”, then in the afternoon gets cloudier and muggier, and still too hot. In the late afternoon it rains, then it clears up a bit. Ho hum.

Otherwise, apart from the supermarket in the morning, the day’s achievements are vocal takes for A Long Walk in the Hills (better than yesterday’s I think); Mufti Day; the retakes of Hey Hey Hey and Act of Will and I write and record lyrics for Mystery Dog and Fade Away. Perhaps I’ll have enough stuff to keep me in uploads to until I get back from Sant Cugat.

Kind of heaven, I suppose.

A whole day given over to recording, or at least tracking new parts for a new song (A Long Walk in the Hills). Kind of heaven, I suppose. At the end I take out the banjo and add a banjo part, which is a kind of first. Also a basic lead vocal. I use Ben’s microphone for this – the banjo takes are full of bummers, and the vocal take is kind of lousy, but they’re very fine-sounding bummers and a very nice-sounding lousy vocal. So there’s hope.

After that I go and get some noodles and watch programmes about Lee Miller, Annie Leibowitz, Linda Eastman-McCartney and Eve Arnold on BBC4, which makes me want to take photos, but I settle on finishing the lyrics for Mufti Day.

the in-the-moment demand

Up… well, a little later.

Today is a clumsiness day, I notice this very early on. Not just me – the cable between my mixer and the station is pulled out by accident (leading to a certain amount of dead air time), and the noticeboard falls off the wall, along with a number of other minor occurences.

Today’s Passport session is three Arabic musicians, who are very nice. I set up all the microphones, taking no chances. Obviously this takes a while to pack up, but am eventually chatting in the sun, drinking cappucino.

Home, then mix the session. Like last week’s, it seems to be a little more difficult to mix afterwards than it was at the moment, largely because the in-the-moment demand is that things be heard, whereas afterwards there’s the wish to make it sound nice. I manage it, anyway, and for an encore mix last week’s session.

In the evening I make all the covers and CDs for the Mixtape round coming up (that is to say I have to do 11 CDs and covers). Good that that’s done. H watches me make the covers and tells me she respects my madness, which is good, I think.


Up at 6:00 – sitting, breakfast with H, then stretching, shower, etc.

Spend the day practising. Interestingly two gigs are called off, by two different people called Phil (Jeays cancelling the thing next Saturday, as apparantly there was insane double booking going on, and Hogg cancelling the Passport Extra tomorrow, or at least the performer part of it that I’d be needed for).

And more practising. I need it.

In the evening to the movements, then home to pasta by H.

That’s it, really.

mining for notes

Not as much achieved as I’d like – to the supermarket… install Leopard on the desktop computer… make very poor lunch, which is a shame… somehow spend the afternoon remaking the compilation CD and designing the cover… eat a much better dinner made by H… spend the evening mining for notes and practising them.

something of a plus

H (who’s having a day off today) goes out and I finish the Fairies. It still takes all morning and a bit of the afternoon. Meh.

In the evening to Ornette Coleman at the RFH – only two basses this time, though with a third bass stack and the presence of Bill Frisell, which is something of a plus. Also The Master Musicians of Joujouka (who are also the support) and a woman who might be Patti Smith (who was on yesterday), though if it is Patti Smith she’s started dying her hair again.

It’s amazing that people can be unpleasantly surprised by Ornette Coleman. I mean, that’s what he does. It’s what he’s always done.

Afterwards have late fish and chips and watch TV.

Perhaps its attitude changed.

Up a little later than I’d like – why am I so tired all the time? – but into Walker early enough.

Get that job out of the way, then have lunch and a walk around with Ben, then home.

On getting home, I struggle to get the NRV10 to work, then it does, sort of, though I can’t work out what fixed it. Perhaps its attitude changed.

H gets home. I do more Fairies, then we have dinner, then I continue colouring Fairies until quite late, listening to (among other things) early Sparks, Cockney Rebel, Queen and Fairport Convention. So a 70s-ish night.

we squeeze in between the playgroup and the barbeque

Up at 6:00, sit, breakfast etc.

After Haru goes out I do dither a bit, then mix some older Passport sessions and burn CDs of them before setting off for today’s special one-off Passport show with the fragment of the London Gypsy Orchestra. Get there 11:30, arriving the same time as Phil, then we squeeze in between the playgroup and the barbeque. I think there were some good recordings, we’ll have to see.

Get home, then have sandwich and sit in shock for a while before going in to Walker. More retouching and leave at about 20:00.

I don’t do any Fairies this evening – my brain and eyes are bubbling, and I don’t want to unpack the suitcase, as I’ll be taking it all back in to SW1R tomorrow. Ho hum.

Being rude about the Doobie Brothers isn’t really a sacred trust.

Up early – sitting, breakfast with Haru, then yoga and shower after she’s gone to work. The fairies that I’ve done are far too big to upload. I speak to the designer, and the current status is ok, although it will take a few evenings, darn it.

Into Walker – more Photoshoppery, then lunch (with lie down), back to the retouching. Home at 6:30 – caught in a nasty rainstorm, and then when I get home I get back to the Fairies, with a dinner interlude. Tonight with the last two episodes of the recent series of Ashes to Ashes, a black and white adaptation of Little Lost Robot and a documentary about the NME, which demonstrates that not only did the 70s journalists take themselves more seriously than could feasibly be supported, they still do. Being rude about the Doobie Brothers isn’t really a sacred trust.

Ho hum. Still more pictures to do. Beginning to affect the workings of my brain.